Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce hosts virtual government affairs briefing
Huntington Beach has not one, but two state senators representing it.
Tom Umberg of the 34th District represents much of the north area of Surf City. Dave Min of the 37th District represents the rest.
“That’s a benefit to Huntington Beach,” Umberg said. “Each of us then compete to provide the best service to that city … In terms of representing Huntington Beach, I have to be on my game to keep up with [Min].”
Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce members got the opportunity to pick the brains of Umberg and Min on Thursday morning when it hosted a virtual government affairs briefing featuring each of the state senators on Zoom.
Umberg, a Democrat from Santa Ana, and Min, a Democrat from Irvine, each gave statements and answered questions on what they have been doing to help local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Beth Hamilton moderated the event.
Umberg, who was appointed to chair the state Senate Judiciary Committee in December, said much of his focus has been on the legal arena. He has been working to create remote access to courthouses so witnesses wouldn’t necessarily have to visit the courthouse to testify. He’s also working on a bill that would allow people to lease or purchase a car electronically.
“I also have a bill to address the issue of businesses getting operational once again,” he said. “One of the challenges is that some businesses had to pay governmental fees. If you had a restaurant, you had to pay your [Alcoholic Beverage Control] fee even while you were shut down … I want to provide relief so that if you are not operational, you don’t have to pay the fees that are intended for being operational.”
Umberg added that he’s also focused on the development of OCV!be, a $3-billion development around the Honda Center in Anaheim that is slated to open in 2024. According to analysis by national economics firm DTA, the project would create more than 10,000 construction jobs in the area, and more than 3,000 permanent jobs upon completion.
Min, a UC Irvine law professor who was elected to the state Senate last November, said he has worked hard to get up to speed.
“This year was a really big learning experience,” he said. “I didn’t have a ton of bills. I was like the freshman trying to figure out where my locker is and where the bathrooms are.”
Much of his work also has been related to the pandemic. He was a principal author of SB 87, which invested $2.1 billion into a small business COVID-19 relief program.
“That program is still open, and more money has been added,” he said. “Please reach out to my office if you suffered losses during the pandemic and you’re looking to try to get some help.”
Min said he is also working on a bill, along with state Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), that would waive and reduce penalties for small businesses that unintentionally violate different regulations.
“You shouldn’t have to pay these steep penalties … if it’s inadvertent,” Min said. “We’ve heard too many stories of small businesses getting hammered for unintentional inadvertent, benign violations.”
Overall, Min said he was happy with the long-term prospects of California businesses.
According to the state’s May jobs report, California added 104,500 jobs in May. It was the fourth straight month that more than 100,000 jobs were added.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Min said. “We know this past year-plus was an incredibly tough time for businesses, particularly small businesses, but I think the future looks bright.”
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